Final Word from Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Crimeans rather bungled their revolution, as only the Russians can. The words of Chernomyrdin come to mind: "We wanted the best, but it turned out as always." It started out as a revolution, not so unlike the one on the Maidan, then it turned into an invasion, an occupation, a gun-barrel referendum, a secession and then independence (announced yesterday by Putin). Yet now Russia's foreign ministry has offered to give Crimea back to Ukraine if Kiev agrees to stay out of Nato. If the Crimeans had stuck to revolution and independence, they might have gotten away with a clean break. The comparison with Kosovo would have held more water, or the Crimeans could have named Czechoslovakia as their role model. The Czechs and Slovaks threw off the yoke of the oppressor by just changing a few words here and there and by pledging new allegiances. They even got the Communists to rubber-stamp it, so there was no turning back. Look where the Crimeans are today. They've burned bridges with Kiev, only to be left in limbo by Moscow. [Czech Republic Viktor Vladimir]

Glossary of difficult words

to bungle something - to do something in a clumsy or incompetent manner, leading to failure or an unsatisfactory outcome;

secession - the act of formally withdrawing from membership in a federation or body, esp. a political state;

to hold water - to stand up, ring true, bear scrutiny;

allegiance - loyalty or commitment;

limbo - an uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution.


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